Your Information to Tulum’s Greatest Cenotes

If you find yourself planning your subsequent journey to the Yucatán, don’t miss out on Tulum’s finest cenotes. There are actually 1000’s of those sinkholes on the peninsula, and lots of to select from inside an hour’s drive from Tulum. A few of them are even accessible by way of bicycle!

A cenote is a limestone sinkhole stuffed from underground freshwater rivers. They are often closed and cave-like, semi-open with cliff overhangs, or fully open, resembling a pond from above. Every has its personal distinctive character. Whether or not you’re an knowledgeable diver or simply in search of someplace to swim, listed below are my high picks for one of the best cenotes near Tulum:

1. Gran Cenote

El Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is likely one of the hottest on the Riviera Maya — and also you’ll perceive why as quickly as you get there. It’s a semi-open cenote with each open areas and cave-like areas underground which you could discover. Expertly positioned platforms enable guests to dip into the blue water at numerous factors, and there are each shallow and deep areas for each stage of swimmer. This cenote additionally has plenty of turtles swimming about which might be comparatively unfazed by people coming out and in of their habitat.

Snorkeling gear is out there to lease; I like to recommend doing so as a result of there are many turtles and fish to peek at, to not point out the cool rock formations beneath the water’s floor. You can spend anyplace from 1 to three hours right here exploring, relying on how a lot you need to see.

There are many excursions that embody Gran Cenote. Examine them out right here.

  • Price: 180 pesos to enter ($9 USD, however when you pay in {dollars}, it prices $10 USD), a locker prices 30 pesos ($1.50 USD), and you’ll lease a life jacket for 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) or snorkeling gear for 80 pesos ($4 USD).
  • Hours: 8am to 4:45pm (entry till 4pm)
  • When to go: The least crowded occasions to go are at 8am (proper when it opens) or round 3-4pm, when most individuals have left. Needless to say the 4:45pm closing time is strict, so going within the afternoon will restrict the period of time you must discover.
  • Learn how to get there: Gran Cenote is about 3 miles from downtown Tulum, alongside the freeway to Coba. This cenote is simple to bike to, however you may also hop on a combi alongside the freeway and inform the driving force to drop you off at Gran Cenote. A taxi trip will price you round 70-100 pesos ($3.50-5 USD).
  • Execs: This is likely one of the finest cenotes for snorkeling, and it’s identified for having plenty of freshwater turtles. It’s very straightforward to get to and from. As a result of it’s semi-open, you possibly can discover the cavelike areas with out having to scuba dive.
  • Cons: It’s one of the costly and the preferred cenotes, that means there’s a probability you’ll encounter huge crowds.

2. Cenote Calavera

This cenote is certainly one of my favorites. It’s one other semi-open one and will get its identify (calavera, which implies “cranium”) from its skull-like look. The 2 openings appear like eye holes, which is neat to take a look at from above. Although it’s on the identical highway as Gran Cenote, it attracts far fewer guests and has a way more relaxed environment.

There’s a ladder that takes you down into the cenote, the place you’ll discover a swing and a rope to carry on to. There’s one other opening which you could bounce by into the cool water beneath. There isn’t any snorkeling gear obtainable to lease, so if you wish to have a look underwater, you’ll must deliver your individual. Viator has a tour that features each El Gran Cenote and Cenote Calavera.

  • Price: 250 pesos ($12.50 USD)
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • When to go: Anytime of day is okay, as a result of it usually doesn’t entice large crowds. Should you go round midday, when the solar is immediately above the cenote, you’ll have the ability to snap a candy pic from the swing within the greater opening.
  • Learn how to get there: This one is lower than 2 miles from downtown Tulum, on the freeway to Coba. It’s on the best way to Gran Cenote, so you possibly can hit up each of them in the identical day when you’d like. It’s a straightforward distance to bike to, or you possibly can take a combi or taxi there, similar to you’d when you have been going to Gran Cenote.
  • Execs: It’s a lot much less identified than different greater cenotes, so that you doubtless gained’t encounter large crowds. There’s additionally ample shade, and the vibe is rather more laid again compared to Gran Cenote.
  • Cons: There aren’t any lockers to retailer your valuables when you swim. This cenote isn’t as developed as different extra in style ones, so the amenities are quite simple.

3. Cenote Automotive Wash (aka Cenote Aktun Ha)

Cenote Automotive Wash is likely one of the most unusual and spectacular cenotes you’ll discover close to Tulum. It’s open and fairly giant as compared with others within the space. It received its identify from a literal automotive wash that used to function subsequent to the doorway alongside the freeway, which served as a landmark to seek out the cenote, however the indigenous identify of it’s truly Aktun Ha, which implies “water cave” in Mayan.

This cenote is finest identified for its underwater backyard that you simply completely must discover, utilizing snorkeling or scuba gear. The crops rising beneath are different, differing from these in different cenotes due to its location and publicity to daylight. Within the summertime, there may be even part of the cenote that seems like a jacuzzi, due to the best way the algae lure warmth and launch it in bubbles.

Cenote Automotive Wash can be a favourite amongst divers as a result of it has an 18-meter-deep underwater cave with wonderful stalactite formations and speleothems (constructions shaped by the deposition of minerals from water).

  • Price: 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) to swim, 120 pesos ($6 USD) to dive with your individual tools.
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • When to go: It’s finest to get there within the morning, proper when it opens, however any time of day is okay, as a result of it doesn’t get practically as crowded and infrequently sees tour teams.
  • Learn how to get there: The doorway to Cenote Automotive Wash is on the Quintana Roo 109 freeway to Coba, a few 15-minute drive from downtown Tulum. It’s additional out than Gran Cenote and could be fairly far to bike to, about 5.5 miles. A taxi trip there’ll price 120-150 pesos ($6-7.50 USD), however you would additionally catch a combi alongside the freeway there for about 10 pesos ($0.50 USD).
  • Execs: The underwater backyard is an unbelievable sight, and your complete cenote is attractive. I like that almost all of holiday makers there after I went have been divers. It’s quieter and extra low-key than different cenotes.
  • Cons: There isn’t any snorkeling or diving gear to lease there, so you must deliver your individual. You additionally have to have a certification to dive there, which is usually a con for some folks.

4. Cenote Zacil Ha

Cenote Zacil Ha is a go-to for households, as a result of it has all of the facilities you’d need when you have been touring with kids. It’s an open cenote with a picket deck round it, making it straightforward to get out and in of. The important thing characteristic of this one is the zip-line which you could take over it; you possibly can even bounce into the cenote from above. The clear turquoise water is gorgeous and makes for good diving circumstances.

The common depth is simply 3 meters round many of the cenote, however there may be an underwater cavern that’s in style amongst divers. The opening to the cavern has a deep cobalt blue coloration from above. It’s a must to have an open-water or cavern diving certificates to dive right here. The chamber beneath is known as Las Lágrimas (“tears” in English) and has stalactites that appear like tears, which is the way it received its identify.

  • Price: 100 pesos ($5 USD) to enter, 10 pesos ($0.50 USD) to zip-line
  • Hours: 9am or 10am to five:30pm, relying on the season (throughout excessive season, it opens at 9am).
  • When to go: To keep away from crowds as a lot as potential, attempt to get there proper when it opens (by 10am, simply to be on the secure facet) or an hour or two earlier than it closes. Keep away from occurring weekends, because it will get very filled with native households then.
  • Learn how to get there: Zacil Ha is true subsequent to Cenote Automotive Wash, about 6 miles from downtown Tulum, alongside the freeway to Coba. A taxi trip there’ll price 120-150 pesos ($6-7.50 USD), however you would additionally catch a combi alongside the freeway there for about 10 pesos ($0.50 USD).
  • Execs: It’s one of many few cenotes within the space the place you possibly can zip-line above the water. It has a really family-friendly environment, which is nice when you’re touring with children. It’s fairly constructed up, so there are many amenities there, similar to lockers and a restaurant.
  • Cons: It’s small in measurement, and if there are lots of people there without delay, it could really feel claustrophobic. It’s additionally so developed close by that it has extra of a swimming pool really feel than a pure cenote vibe.

5. Cenote Cristal

Cenote Cristal is one other open sinkhole that has the looks of a lake or lagoon. Its pristine waters are perfect for a swim, and it has a excessive picket deck which you could climb to the highest of and leap into the water from. The cenote is sort of deep all through, a lot to be able to’t see the underside of it no matter the truth that the water is totally clear.

You’ll principally see fish swimming about, so if you wish to discover what lies within the depths of Cenote Cristal, contemplate diving. The cenote has a number of underwater caves to discover, in addition to an underground tunnel that connects it to Cenote Escondido, which is on the opposite facet of the freeway from Cristal.

This cenote is right for a picnic and a chill, enjoyable day. There are palapas (small, thatched-roof huts) and tables across the water’s edge the place you possibly can hang around alone or with pals. You may even have the ability to spot a toucan or iguana when you’re fortunate!

  • Price: 120 pesos ($6 USD), which incorporates admission to Cenote Escondido throughout the highway. You should purchase your two-cenote move at both of them.
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: Even when this cenote is crowded, it’s large enough and has sufficient locations to sit back out that it’s not too huge of a deal. If you wish to have the place to your self, go as quickly because it opens or a pair hours earlier than it closes.
  • Learn how to get there: This one is near downtown Tulum (beneath 4 miles) and straightforward to bike to. You can too take a taxi for round 70-100 pesos ($3.50-5 USD). A less expensive possibility is hopping on a combi headed south towards Chetumal or Felipe Carrillo Puerto, which is able to solely price 15 pesos ($0.75 USD). Simply make sure that to inform the driving force that you simply need to get off at Cenote Cristal or Cenote Escondido (which is throughout the road).
  • Execs: It’s a comparatively quiet cenote for a swim and to benefit from the sunshine. It’s fairly huge and likewise very straightforward to get to.
  • Cons: The stroll from the highway to the cenote can get very buggy throughout the wet season. I’m speaking literal swarms of mosquitoes. Convey (eco-friendly) bug spray!

6. Cenote Escondido

Although Cenote Escondido is simply throughout the freeway from Cenote Cristal and joined to it by way of an underground tunnel, they’re fairly totally different. Whereas Escondido can be an open cenote, it’s lengthy and skinny, kind of like a river. The distinction of the luxurious inexperienced jungle with the deep blues of the water is gorgeous.

There are rock cliffs on the sting of the water, about 2-4 meters excessive, which might be nice for leaping into the water beneath. There may be additionally a enjoyable rope swing for all of the daredevils on the market.

This cenote is a well-liked diving spot, due to the variety of caves beneath the floor. You’ll have to organize your dive with a neighborhood firm.

  • Price: 120 pesos ($6 USD), which additionally consists of admission to Cenote Cristal throughout the highway. You should purchase your two-cenote move at both of them.
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm (entrance closes at 4pm)
  • When to go: This cenote is comparatively uncrowded, so any time of day is okay to go to. There’s loads of shade, and the water stays cool, so it’s an awesome place to take a break from the sweltering solar.
  • Learn how to get there: Observe the identical instructions for Cenote Cristal, besides look to the opposite facet of the freeway for the Cenote Escondido signal. From the doorway, you’ll have a brief stroll to the cenote.
  • Execs: It’s good for a noon swim, because it’s one of many least crowded cenotes within the space. There are usually extra households and small teams there versus huge tour teams, which makes it extra serene in comparison with different, extra in style cenotes.
  • Cons: Similar to Cenote Cristal, it could get very buggy on the stroll from the highway.

7. Cenote Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos (that means “two eyes”) will get its identify from the 2 adjoining sinkholes which might be linked by a protracted hall. Technically, Cenote Dos Ojos is 2 cenotes, certainly one of them being extra in style than the opposite. The extremely clear water is breathtaking and undoubtedly price seeing, when you don’t thoughts the steep entrance payment.

Snorkeling is a good way to totally get pleasure from the great thing about Dos Ojos, and it’s additionally a favourite of divers — and an awesome place for newbie divers too! — however you must set up your dive with a diving firm upfront, per the principles of the cenote. If you wish to snorkel, you possibly can deliver your individual gear or lease it there.

Should you’re not staying in Tulum however nonetheless need to embody Dos Ojos throughout your Cancún or Riviera Maya trip, this tour consists of Dos Ojos and a full tour of the Tulum archaeological website in the identical day.

  • Price: Entrance is 350 pesos (about $18 USD). Snorkeling gear is 50 pesos ($2.50 USD) for a masks and snorkel plus 70 pesos ($3.50 USD) for flippers.
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: As quickly because the cenote opens at 8am is one of the best time to go. Crowds will begin arriving at this super-popular spot round 9:30 or 10am.
  • Learn how to get there: Dos Ojos is about 14 miles north of downtown Tulum, on the freeway to Playa del Carmen. You possibly can both take a taxi there for about 200-250 ($10-12.50 USD) pesos or take a combi (40 pesos, $2 USD) going to Playa del Carmen and inform the driving force to drop you off on the flip for Cenote Dos Ojos. From there it’s a few 20-minute stroll to the cenote.
  • Execs: It’s shut to 2 different nice cenotes: El Pit and Nicte Ha (see beneath). The water is attractive, and the passageway between the 2 swimming pools is exclusive to Dos Ojos.
  • Cons: The worth for Dos Ojos is dearer compared to most others, and it’s simply as in style as Gran Cenote, that means crowds accumulate fairly rapidly.

8. Cenote El Pit

This cenote is a diver’s paradise. Solely skilled divers are allowed to dive right here due to its depth (119 meters), making it the deepest cenote on the Yucatán Peninsula! There’s a floating hydrogen sulfide cloud at 30 meters deep, which is likely one of the most enjoyable options of the dive. The truth is, it’s identified to be one of the legendary locations to dive in the entire world!

Cenote El Pit is a part of the Sac Actun system, which is the biggest identified underwater cave system on the planet. This consists of Dos Ojos and Nicte Ha, all of which you would go to in the identical day.

  • Price: 300 pesos ($15 USD) when you’re visiting this alone, or 500 pesos ($25 USD) for a mixed ticket with Dos Ojos
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: Should you’re diving (which is an additional price), the morning hours have one of the best mild streaming into the depths of the underwater cavern.
  • Learn how to get there: El Pit is a part of the identical cenote system as Dos Ojos and is lower than 2 miles previous it. To get there, comply with the instructions for Dos Ojos and proceed strolling, following the indicators for El Pit.
  • Execs: The diving is the primary attraction right here, so when you’re a diver, the most important professional is that you simply’ll have one of the epic dives of your life.
  • Cons: Should you aren’t a diver, this cenote is sort of costly for only a swim and a go searching. You possibly can snorkel and see the stalactites beneath, however the floor of the cenote is sort of similar to different cheaper ones within the space.

9. Cenote Nicte Ha

One other a part of the Sac Actun system is Cenote Nicte Ha, an open cenote that has lovely turquoise waters good for a swim. The colourful inexperienced fauna across the edge give Nicte Ha a Backyard of Eden vibe. You’ll even see loads of lily pads and their flowers floating nearer to the water’s edge. There’s additionally a rock overhang on one facet that’s enjoyable to swim over to and discover.

Because it’s so near Dos Ojos and El Pit, this place usually will get overshadowed, although it’s among the finest cenotes within the space for swimming and absorbing the encompassing jungle. It’s good after your early-morning cease at Dos Ojos, as it’s a lot much less in style, so it’s not essential to get to tremendous early. I like Nicte Ha greater than Dos Ojos due to how peaceable and quiet it’s.

To see Nicte Ha and Pet Cemetery (see beneath) in the identical day, this tour from Viator is a good possibility.

  • Price: 200 pesos ($10 USD)
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: One of the best time to go is within the morning, however it can save you this one for late morning after you go to Dos Ojos, because it’s much less crowded.
  • Learn how to get there: The doorway to Nicte Ha is definitely earlier than Dos Ojos, so comply with the instructions to Dos Ojos however maintain an eye fixed out for the Nicte Ha signal after you head inland from the freeway.
  • Execs: It’s a stupendous, tranquil place to calm down, swim, and snorkel. It’s near different in style cenotes and due to this fact an awesome place to take a look at when you’re staying in Tulum as a result of you possibly can hit up all of them in the identical day. It’s much less crowded than different cenotes, and there aren’t many excursions that go to it.
  • Cons: There isn’t anyplace to lease snorkeling tools, so that you’ll must deliver your individual. The stroll in from the freeway is about 20 minutes, which may very well be a con for some folks.

10. Cenote Pet Cemetery

Are you confused or intrigued by the identify of this one? Don’t fear, I used to be too! Cenote Pet Cemetery will get its identify from the abundance of animal bones that may be present in its depths. Some researchers consider that the Mayan folks made animal sacrifices right here 1000’s of years in the past.

That is one other cenote that’s finest explored by scuba diving. The white stalactite, stalagmite, and column formations, paired with the abundance of pure mild pouring in, create an thrilling glowing impact that will also be seen by snorkeling. In an effort to see the animal bones, nonetheless, you’ll have to dive.

Across the opening to the deep a part of the cenote, there may be a median depth of simply 3 meters, making it a pleasant place to swim and snorkel. Nonetheless, the steep entrance payment and the truth that you possibly can solely go to Pet Cemetery with a information make it actually solely definitely worth the worth when you can dive there.

  • Price: 450 pesos ($22.50 USD)
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: Since you possibly can solely go to Pet Cemetery with a information, select a time that works finest for you. The sunshine is finest within the early morning and afternoon.
  • Learn how to get there: Observe the instructions to Dos Ojos and proceed alongside the identical highway till you see the signal for Pet Cemetery.
  • Execs: It has a wealth of historical past and is likely one of the solely locations the place you will discover artifacts like animal bones.
  • Cons: It is vitally costly for non-divers and maybe not price visiting when you aren’t diving.

11. Cenote Xunaan-Ha

This cenote is likely one of the most off-the-beaten-path ones you’ll discover within the Riviera Maya. It’s in Chemuyil, a small village between Tulum and Akumal. In case you are in search of a cenote that has a way more down-to-earth, native vibe, that is it. On any given weekend, you’ll doubtless discover folks from the group hanging out right here, however it stays comparatively quiet throughout the week.

Xunaan-Ha is an open cenote with a platform which you could bounce from and ropes to carry onto when you swim. Convey your individual snorkeling gear to take advantage of the underwater natural world, as there isn’t anyplace close by to lease it.

Viator has a tour that features this cenote together with the Tulum archaeological website. What an awesome combo!

  • Price: 100 pesos ($5 USD)
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • When to go: Since this cenote is comparatively unknown, you possibly can go any time of day and discover only a few folks there. Locals have a tendency to go to extra on the weekends, so keep away from going then if you would like the place principally to your self.
  • Learn how to get there: The cenote is about 14 miles from downtown Tulum, within the village of Chemuyil. The simplest and most cost-effective solution to get there may be by taking a combi towards Playa del Carmen and telling the driving force to drop you off at Chemuyil. The trip ought to price you round 45 pesos ($2.25 USD). From the freeway, you possibly can stroll to the cenote entrance.
  • Execs: It’s fairly candy that this cenote hasn’t gained plenty of recognition but, as a result of it’s simply as lovely as different cenotes however with out practically as many individuals. It’s additionally fairly straightforward to get to from Tulum.
  • Cons: There aren’t many facilities obtainable on the cenote itself, and there isn’t a lot else to do in Chemuyil moreover go to the cenote.

12. Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is sizable, with a number of totally different linked swimming pools. Certainly one of them is shallower and properly fitted to kids or not-so-confident swimmers. There may be one other one that’s a lot deeper and has a cliff to dive in from. The water is so clear which you could see all the best way to the rocky backside in most locations.

This cenote is finest for swimming and snorkeling, however flippers usually are not allowed. It’s not fitted to diving in any respect. With the cliff to leap off, it’s a enjoyable place to take a leap, swim round, and benefit from the environment of the jungle.

  • Price: 120 pesos ($6 USD) to enter
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: Like many of the extra in style cenotes, this one is finest to go to within the morning on a weekday when there are fewer folks there.
  • Learn how to get there: Cenote Azul is simply south of Puerto Aventuras, about half-hour north of Tulum. A taxi from Tulum will price round 200 pesos ($10 USD), however taking a combi is simply as straightforward. To take a combi from downtown Tulum, discover one that claims Playa del Carmen and inform the driving force to allow you to out on the entrance to Cenote Azul.
  • Execs: The water is pristine and the limestone is sweet to sit down on to sit back out. There’s a extra family-friendly vibe, with folks cliff-jumping and having a superb time.
  • Cons: It may get a little bit rowdy within the afternoons when it’s extra crowded.

13. Cenote Angelita

Cenote Angelita is one other famous person with regards to diving. Most divers flock to this cenote to see the optical phantasm that the hydrogen sulfate cloudlike layer creates underwater. This halocline is actually the place freshwater and saltwater meet, at round 30 meters beneath the water’s floor. There are tree branches reaching out from beneath the halocline, which create a mystical impact similar to strolling by a misty forest at evening.

Whereas Cenote Angelita is finest identified for its diving, it’s not a foul spot to calm down and take a dip. The truth is, it’s recognition amongst divers simply may imply that you’ve the place to your self when you’re simply there to swim.

  • Price: 100 pesos ($5 USD), plus an extra payment to dive.
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • When to go: Anytime of the day is appropriate to go to when you’re there to swim, because it not often will get crowded. Should you’re diving, the morning hours are one of the best, as a result of the sunshine can penetrate to the depths beneath a lot simpler.
  • Learn how to get there: Angelita is additional south than Cristal and Escondido, and a bit too far to bike to. The simplest solution to get there may be to take a taxi for round 100-120 pesos ($5-6 USD) or to seize a Chetumal- or Felipe Carrillo Puerto-bound combi for 20 pesos ($1 USD).
  • Execs: It’s unlikely to be crowded. The halocline impact is an unbelievable sight to see when you’re a diver.
  • Cons: There aren’t many facilities, and also you’ll have to rearrange to dive with a neighborhood firm if you want to take action.

Pointers and Greatest Practices

  • Sunblock: Most sunblocks include chemical substances which might be very dangerous to the the ecosystem of cenotes, lagoons, and the ocean. The truth is, lots of the chemical substances in conventional sunblocks are partially accountable for coral bleaching. Yikes! Both omit sunblock, or go for one that claims “reef secure” or “ecopark pleasant” on the label. These are mineral sunblocks and don’t trigger harm the best way chemical ones do.
  • Rinsing off: At some cenotes, like Gran Cenote, for instance, you’ll see an open bathe space. Generally there are indicators instructing guests to rinse off earlier than entering into the cenote, however final time I visited the world, a lot of them didn’t have an indication. Be sure to maintain an eye fixed out for these bathe areas, so you possibly can rinse off any residue in your pores and skin from lotions, soaps, and so forth.
  • Go away no hint: Would you need to roll as much as your chosen cenote and discover a ton of trash there, floating round within the water? In fact not! Be aware of all the pieces you deliver with you, and ensure to not depart any trash behind.
  • Respect the native tradition: Cenotes have been and proceed to be, in some circumstances, locations of worship for the Mayan folks. As you possibly can see above with Pet Cemetery, these sacred sinkholes have a wealthy historical past and immense cultural significance. Tulum is notorious for its raves, and a few of them are held in privately owned cenotes. This has upset locals, and I personally assume it’s fairly uncool, though I perceive that everybody could make their very own selections. Simply meals for thought.
  • Convey money: Among the extra in style cenotes have card readers, however the smaller ones will solely take money. Be sure to deliver sufficient pesos in your entrance payment, transportation, and snacks.

Map

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Not all cenotes are created equal. Some are finest fitted to seasoned divers, and a few are wonderful locations to swim, snorkel, and calm down for the day. No matter cenote journey you’re trying ahead to, I hope you’ve discovered your subsequent favourite spot on this listing!

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